Join ISAT on Facebook  Follow isatirl on Twitter

The Irish Sleep Apnoea Trust Ireland

Donate to ISAT
Membership of ISAT is now FREE!

Join ISAT Now. Membership of ISAT is now Free

Irish Sleep Apnoea Trust ISAT

Iontaobhas Apnoea Codlata na hÉireann

The Irish Sleep Apnoea Trust promotes awareness, understanding and treatment of Sleep Apnoea through education, research and fund raising.



Air Travel Tips with CPAP

 

 

AIR TRAVEL WITH CPAP

Air Travel With CPAP - Tips and Advice from the Irish Sleep Apnoea Trust.

With the Summer almost upon us, many of us will be heading for sun holidays or family reunions abroad. Here a few tips to ensure a pleasant flight (with CPAP).
1. It is a good idea to get a 'Letter of Medical Necessity' from your sleep clinic (it states your condition and the pressure setting of your CPAP machine). In the event of loss or breakdown, it will prove invaluable should you need to replace your machine abroad.
2. Always ensure that you clear your CPAP equipment for air travel as soon as possible after booking your flight.
3. Follow instructions from The Special Assistance Department of your airline.
4. Always pack a suitable plug adaptor and extension cable. Check this site for details.
5. It's a good opportunity to have your machine serviced and replace any worn parts (hose/filter) and mask.
6. Check any insurance issues with your supplier.
7. When you approach the security check area, make sure to tell security staff that you are carrying a medical device. You MAY have to remove it from the bag (unlikely), but it will be placed in a separate tray for scanning. Follow their instructions. 
8. On rare occasions, security staff MAY ask to swab your CPAP machine for explosives. Should this happen, you can ask to have it swabbed privately in a room away from other passengers. This process involved removing the CPAP machine from the carry bag and lightly swabbing a small area of it. It should take no longer than a minute or two. You are entitled to ask security staff to replace their gloves with clean ones.
9. Once on board, try to place your CPAP bag beside a bulkhead in the overhead locker, with your other case beside it (protecting it). If you are unable to place the machine safely in the overhead locker, either place it on the floor under the seat in front of you or alternatively ask one of the flight attendants to place it in one of their lockers (NOT IN THE HOLD
REMEMBER, problems or difficulties travelling with CPAP are more the exception than the rule. 
If your equipment has received advance clearance, you are unlikely to experience any problems.
IF YOUR CPAP MACHINE HAS NOT RECEIVED PRIOR CLEARANCE, IT IS UNLIKELY THAT YOU WILL BE ALLOWED CARRY IT ON BOARD AS 'ADDITIONAL LUGGAGE'.

 
For quick reference we have included the policies for Aer Lingus and Ryanair below.

For any of you using oxygen, you should check the European Lung Foundation site for the various policies in force with most airlines.

A CPAP machine and Humidifier are not allowed to be used on board the aircraft. Advance clearance is for carriage only. This means that you may carry the CPAP unit on board (as additional carry on luggage). The following information must be furnished IN ADVANCE (48 hours before the flight) by email to:
requests@aerlingus.com or specialassistance@aerlingus.com
Booking Ref/Flight Number
Make
Model
Serial Number
Mains/Battery Operated (If battery operated please state type and WH strength).
If there is a separate humidifier (ie not attached), the same details are required.
Aer Lingus will forward a Confirmation Email and the details will be encoded on your Boarding Card.

 


A CPAP machine and Humidifier are not allowed to be used on board the aircraft.  Advance clearance is for carriage only. This means you may carry the CPAP unit on board (as additional carry on luggage). The following information must be furnished IN ADVANCE (48 hours before the flight) by telephone to
01-2480858:
Booking Ref/Flight Number
Make
Model
Approx Weight
Approx size of bag containing equipment.
RyanAir will forward a 'Waiver Letter' for the CPAP Unit to the email address used to book the flight. This letter should be placed in the CPAP bag as you may have to show it to airline staff.



Travelling with CPAP has become easier over the past few years, with airline and security staff becoming more familiar with the device.

The majority of problems that CPAP users face, regarding travel with airlines, can be put down to lack of preparation.  Hopefully, the following guidelines will help to minimize inconveniences.  For convenience, we have broken down the guidelines into the following sections:


1. PRE BOOKING

2. AIRLINE APPROVAL

3. WHAT YOU WILL NEED

4. WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

5. RESOURCES



1. PRE BOOKING

A. Before making air travel arrangements Sleep Apnoea sufferers should ensure that they are fit to travel, and if in any doubt should contact their Medical Consultant for confirmation.

B. You will need a ‘Letter of Medical Necessity’ from your Sleep Clinic.

C. This is a good time to have your CPAP equipment checked out by your Medical Device Supplier (MDS) (filters/mask/tubing).

D. If leasing your CPAP equipment, you should check with your MDS whether your CPAP equipment needs to be insured.  If you own your CPAP machine, you should arrange to have it covered on your holiday insurance.

Back to Top

2. AIRLINE APPROVAL

A. Book your flight as normal.

B. Your CPAP equipment should ALWAYS be taken on board as ‘cabin luggage’.  It should never be placed with ‘checked in’ luggage.  Your CPAP bag is allowed in addition to the normal cabin luggage allowance.  There should be no additional charge.

C. Contact the airlines ‘Special Handling’ or ‘Special Assistance’ Department and advise them that you will be taking your CPAP equipment as additional ‘cabin luggage’.  Follow their instructions and approval should be obtained within about 24 hours or earlier.

D. Approval should be forwarded to you by email or alternatively some airlines electronically ‘tag’ your Boarding Pass to allow for the extra bag.

Back to Top

3. WHAT YOU WILL NEED

A. A letter of Medical Necessity.

B. Your CPAP equipment in one bag (you may be asked for dimensions).

C. Your Booking Number.

D. Best to bring an extension cord, as hotels may not have electrical points close to your bed.

E. DO NOT leave water in the humidifier (if you have one).

F. A suitable plug top adaptor suit-able for the country you are visiting.

G. Place a card, with your contact details, inside the CPAP bag. Can be handy if the bag is lost.  Keep a separate record of the Make and serial Number of your CPAP machine.

Back to Top

4. WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

A. All major airlines are familiar with CPAP equipment and the regulations covering its carriage.

B. At Security, you will probably be asked to remove your CPAP equipment from the bag, place it on a plastic tray for scanning (like a laptop). Once in a while you may be asked to step into a private room, to allow security staff ’swab’ your machine for explosives. This takes a few minutes only.

C. Try and ensure that your CPAP equipment is placed beside a divider/bulkhead in the overhead locker. Place any other bags on the other side to give protection to the machine. If you have problems with this, ask an airline attendant for assistance. It is imperative that other luggage is NOT jammed against your machine. Masks/tubing are easily broken.

Back to Top

5. RESOURCES

A. If you are travelling long haul and wish to use your CPAP during the flight, check this website, before contacting the airlines Special Handling Department: www.seatguru.com for travel tips and details of seating and power points on aircraft.

B. This website gives excellent information on the power level and plug type for just about every country in the world:
www.europlugs.com.

C. The European Lung Foundation (ELF) have excellent advice for air travelers at this site: European Lung Foundation - Air Travel.  The information is directed to those who may require oxygen therapy.

D. The ELF site also gives contact details for all European Airlines Special Handling Departments.

E. If travelling to the USA, the following information from the TSA should be helpful:

TRANSPORT SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (TSA)
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machines
CPAPs are allowed through security checkpoints once they have undergone screening.  Passengers will be required to take their CPAP machine out of its carrying case and place the device in a bin for x-ray screening. Facemasks and tubing can remain in the carrying case.

In addition to x-ray inspection of your CPAP machine, a visual and physical inspection, and Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) sampling will be required.  To facilitate CPAP machine hygiene and cleanliness: Once out of the carrying case, you can place your CPAP machine in a clear plastic bag before placing the device in the bin. You will need to provide/bring your own plastic bag.

Upon request, TSOs will change their gloves prior to performing the visual and physical inspection, and ETD sampling of your CPAP machine.

The CPAP will need to be removed from the plastic bag by the TSO to conduct the ETD sampling.

Upon request, TSOs will clean the table where the ETD sampling will be conducted.

Upon request, TSOs will change the ETD sampling media before conducting the ETD sampling.

WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU CARRY A LETTER OF MEDICAL NECESSITY IN YOUR CPAP BAG.

RECENT US LEGISLATION INSISTS ON A DOCTOR’S PRESCRIPTION FOR ALL ITEMS OF CPAP EQUIPMENT, INCLUDING MASKS.

IN ALL CASES, EARLY PREPARATION IS THE BEST ADVICE.
DON’T HESITATE TO CONTACT ISAT AND/OR YOUR MEDICAL DEVICE SUPPLIER BEFORE TRAVELLING.

UP TO DATE ADVICE ON TRAVELLING WITH CPAP WILL BE AVAILABLE SHORTLY AT WWW.ISAT.IE

Back to Top

Air Products Medical Ireland Ltd
18H Rosemount Business Park, Ballycoolin Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 11. Tel: + 353 (0)1 809 1800 Fax: + 353 (0)1 829 3966 Tel: LoCall 1850 240 202 (ROI only)


BOC Healthcare
Bluebell Industrial Estate, Dublin 12; & Blyry Industrial Estate, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Tel: 09064-70910 Fax: 09064-74993 Lo-call: 1890 22 02 02 02


Direct Medical Ltd
Suite 2, Gateway Centre, Monksland Athlone Co. Roscommon
Tel: +353 90 648 9827 Fax: +353 90 648 9901


Home Health Care Ltd
Ballykeeran, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Tel: + 353 (0)90 6474854 Fax: + 353 (0)90 6478241


Medicare Health & Living Ltd
Glencormack Business Park, Kilmacanogue, Co. Wicklow, Tel: 01 2014900 Fax: 01 2014999


Orega Systems Ltd
24 Lauriston, The Park, Midleton, Co. Cork. Tel: + 353 (0)21 4634905 / + 353 (0)766 895798


ResMed/PEI Ltd
Sleep & Respiratory Medicine Team M50 Business Park Ballymount Road Upper Ballymount Dublin 12 Ireland Tel: 1800 734 000 or +353 1 419 6900


Respicare Ltd
Medical Centre, Applewood Village, Swords, Co. Dublin. Tel: (01) 890 4020

Back to Top

Download a PDF version of the ISAT Air Travel with CPAP Information sheet.